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Hoping for a Better Past Is Futile

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
February 25, 2023 9:39 am

Hoping for a Better Past Is Futile

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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February 25, 2023 9:39 am

We can always live in the wreckage of our past and wonder what could have been - but is that helpful? Hoping for a better past is futile.

C.S. Lewis stated, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” 

Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger

As caregivers, we have so many things that hit us all the time, and we can't always nail these things down by ourselves. Who helps you?

What does that look like? I'm Peter Rosenberg, and I want to tell you about a program I've been a part of now for almost 10 years, and that's Legal Shield. For less than $30 a month, I have access to a full law firm that can handle all kinds of things.

If I get a contract put in front of me, if I got a dispute with something, doesn't matter. I've got a full law firm that can help me navigate through all the sticky wickets that we as caregivers have to deal with. Power of attorney, medical power of attorney, I will.

Every bit of it. As a caregiver, we need someone who advocates for us, and that's why I use Legal Shield. So go to Look on the left-hand side where it says Legal Shield. Just select it.

It turns purple. It says, pick a plan. It'll give you some options.

If you don't need any of those, don't select them. Check out and be protected starting today. That's Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberg. Glad to have you with us. All right, I want to pivot just a little bit.

I was in Denver last week, and I appreciate your flexibility with me while I took a little bit of time off to do some caregiving. Of course, this audience understands that profoundly. While we're down there, we met with two different surgical groups. Last year, Gracie had several operations, and one of them was the large one she had on her back, where they had to go in and reposition her spine because she had developed what they call flat back syndrome. She didn't have any curvature to her spine, and therefore, she was bent over about 45 degrees. It was a big, big, big surgery. She also had to have a follow-up surgery to that, which because of a post-op infection, and then we started the recovery process. She also had to have a screw taken out of her left femur, where she broke her leg. She fell and broke her leg a year and a half ago. Not the part I can fix with duct tape and pliers, but it's right above her knee, right above where her prosthesis hits, and she twisted and fell.

It's just one of those kind of things. I mean, Gracie has lived a pretty active life as an amputee, and she's been snow skiing, and horseback riding, and four-wheeling, and snowmobiling, and everything else, but this is one of those kind of freak things. So they flew her to Billings, they fixed this, but the screw they put in there to anchor that rod in the femur was too long, and when she wore a prosthesis, it was too tight, and it was pinching her.

It was stabbing her. It was pretty uncomfortable, so she couldn't walk very well. So we had that taken out in Denver from an ortho group down there, and everything was good. I told Gracie, I said, we got to fix that flat tire. So we fixed that, and well, I didn't fix it, but I got her down there, and they gave, they signed off, said, look, it's all healed up. Now, you know, the recovery process, you still have to kind of work it, physical therapy, and so forth.

We understand that. The neurosurgeon, however, looking at her back, the disc above where the fusion stopped is collapsing, and it's causing quite a bit of pain. The technical term is called PJK, proximal junctional kyphosis, and what they're going to do is go up over the curve that she now has in her back, and fuse more, I mean, anchor it more with rods, and so forth, to the thoracic area, and then that should straighten her back all the way. She's still been over enough that it's a problem, and then six months after that surgery is completed, then the orthosurgents will go back in, and do what they call a hip flexor release, because she's been sitting in a wheelchair, been over, hasn't been able to do that, been over, hasn't been able to stand up straight, and her hip flexors got really tight. Okay, that's the bad news.

All of that is happening, and I wanted to give you all that update, because that's going to involve me being in and out quite a bit over the next several months. The good news is, the neurosurgeon told us, is look, this is a complication that comes for about 20% of the patients that have the kind of surgery that Gracie did last January, and we know exactly what to do with it. Now, why is that important?

Well, certainly it's important so somebody knows what they're doing. This is not one of those unexpected things, but for so much of Gracie's journey, we heard, we've never seen this before, or this is a first, or all those kinds of things, and the vast majority of her surgeries that she's had were done to save her legs following her wreck. They were done to try to, you know, nobody wanted this 17-year-old girl to wake up and find her legs gone, and this is back in 83, and then the subsequent surgeries after that, trying to save these legs. Well, prosthetics took a huge turn in the 90s and really started becoming the state-of-the-art things that we see today. When she lost her right leg, she started off with this thing called a flex foot that was, you know, brand new where you had this energy storing carbon fiber feet and so forth.

Nowadays, that protocol would probably be a lot different. The advancements in prosthetics are such that removing a terribly damaged limb that really is beyond repair doesn't have quite the same impact because of prosthetics. You can get back up and start living a pretty functional life, but we didn't have that opportunity at the time, and nobody really knows the pain you're saved from.

They only know the pain you have. And the thought of giving up her legs was horrific to Gracie and everyone involved, and we've talked about that on this program. But there was this mindset, a philosophical mindset, of let's try this, let's try this, let's try this, let's try this. And in the process, Gracie is in the shape she's in today because of a lot of that. I'm not placing blame on surgeons, Gracie, me, or anybody else. I'm just saying this is what it is. Hindsight is always 20-20. So what have we learned from this? Well, I've come to understand that when it comes to caring for Gracie, the plan of care has to be partnered with the philosophy of care.

Now, let me explain. Gracie is in chronic pain. She has severe pain all the time.

Not a day without it since 1983. She can get out of pain today, right now, but she would be so sedated or so anesthetized or so numb that she couldn't function. So you have to have a philosophy. Okay, what is the goal here? Is the goal to get her out of pain? Well, that's not possible. And have any kind of meaningful life. So she has to learn to cope with the pain and deal with it. That's the philosophy part of this.

How do I do this? Well, the same thing with surgical approach with her. And she's had so many of them and we've been to this well. She's an orthopedic train wreck. And so, and that's not my words, she's at the far end of complex orthopedic trauma. And so you have to have a philosophical approach to this.

Okay, what is the best thing to do overall for Gracie? The wholeness of the person. So when I had this conversation with the neurosurgeon, I was very encouraged that he was thinking the same way. That we don't just try something. That we have this thing mapped out before she ever shows up at the hospital. Okay, so that's, I mean, it's as much as possible. I mean, there's always something that can go awry.

But you're not just hoping for the best. You're going in there with a very detailed plan of this is exactly what we're going to do. So when they took that screw out of her femur, they knew exactly what to do and how to get it done and what to expect.

It was all laid out. This was not, you know, we're going to try this. So that's the approach we're taking with this. Now we can look back over our life and I think this is where we as caregivers can identify and we spent a lot of time here quite truthfully. We're hoping for a better past, you know. You ever felt like that?

That you're hoping for a better past, but the past is what it is. It's happened. Here's where we are.

Here's what's happened. Now what are we going to do about it? And we can sit there and commiserate over the trauma.

We can sit there and just weep and gnash our teeth and by the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept kind of thing. We can do that or we can set our face forward like flint and just say, you know, this is where we are going. We know where we've been. We know what's happened and we see it for what it is. We accept it for what it is. We don't agree with it. We don't have to like it. We're not required to like it. But accepting it is the hardest part for us sometimes as human beings.

I think that's part of the human condition. And we're going to have tears about this. You and I both know this.

All right. We've got tears aplenty and it will be hard and it will be difficult and painful. Certainly for Gracie and for me as well. She's really making me brush up on a lot of my nursing skills.

And that's just the way it is. Now what are our options? She cannot not do this. There are dire consequences if she doesn't do it. And there are challenging events if she does. This is the life of so many of you all as caregivers.

What do you do? And this is not a moral decision where we're going to sin one way or the other. We are getting the best advice and we're making the decision. But even if the decision proves something unexpected happens or whatever, it's not a sin issue.

It's really important for me to understand that, for Gracie to understand that, and for the rest of us to have that conversation. Because I think that sometimes so many people want to put pressure on us when we make these kinds of decisions. Well, if you had enough faith. Or if you would just do this. Or if you would go to this preacher. If you go to this.

Or if you would send money to this guy. Whatever. And that kind of stuff is really bondage. That's not faith. That's ritual. That's legalism. That's dysfunction. Faith is saying, I trust that God is already waiting for Gracie in the hospital in Denver for that surgery.

He's already there. That's faith. I trust the ever living one. His wounds for me doth plead. As the hymn says. And this did not come easily to either one of us. But this is our life. And we're not going to, okay, we'll get through this surgery and then we'll get on with our life.

No, this is our life. And I can resent it. I can rail against it.

I can cuss fuss and holler, cry, scream, everything else. Been there, done that. It's not going to change anything. So I turn into it. And accept it. Gracie turns into it and accepts, this is where I am.

This is what I have to live with. And I will trust him in it. Corrie ten Boon once said about trusting an unknown future to a known God. There is no way that Gracie and I could stand firm in this.

If we didn't know God, not as much as we'd like to know him, but we know him a lot more than we did back in the 1980s. Through many dangers, toils and snares, we have already come. That's what the hymn says. Finish it with me. T'was grace that brought us thus far and grace will lead Gracie home. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver.

We'll be right back. You've heard me talk about standing with hope over the years. This is the prosthetic limb ministry that Gracie envisioned after losing both of her legs. Part of that outreach is our prosthetic limb recycling program. Did you know that prosthetic limbs can be recycled?

No kidding. There is a correctional facility in Arizona that helps us recycle prosthetic limbs, and this facility is run by a group out of Nashville called CoreCivic. We met them over 11 years ago, and they stepped in to help us with this recycling program of taking prostheses and you disassemble them. You take the knee, the foot, the pylon, the tube clamps, the adapters, the screws, the liners, the prosthetic socks, all these things we can reuse and inmates help us do it. Before CoreCivic came along, I was sitting on the floor at our house or out in the garage when we lived in Nashville and I had tools everywhere, limbs everywhere, and feet, boxes of them and so forth.

I was doing all this myself and I'd make the kids help me, and it got to be too much for me. I was very grateful that CoreCivic stepped up and said, look, we are always looking for faith-based programs that are interesting and that give inmates a sense of satisfaction, and we'd love to be a part of this. And that's what they're doing. And you can see more about that at slash recycle. So please help us get the word out that we do recycle prosthetic limbs. We do arms as well, but the majority of amputations are lower limb, and that's where the focus of Standing with Hope is. That's where Gracie's life is with her lower limb prosthesis. And she's used some of her own limbs in this outreach that she's recycled. I mean, she's been an amputee for over 30 years.

So you go through a lot of legs and parts and other types of materials and you can reuse prosthetic socks and liners if they're in good shape. All of this helps give the gift that keeps on walking. And it goes to this prison in Arizona where it's such an extraordinary ministry. Thank you for that. Inmates volunteering for this, they want to do it.

And they've had amazing times with it. And I've had very moving conversation with the inmates that work in this program. And you can see, again, all of that at slash recycle. They're putting together a big shipment right now for us to ship over. We do this pretty regularly throughout the year as inventory rises and they need it badly in Ghana. So please go out to slash recycle and get the word out and help us do more. If you want to offset some of the shipping, you can always go to the giving page and be a part of what we're doing there.

We're purchasing material in Ghana that they have to use that can't be recycled. We're shipping over stuff that can be, and we're doing all of this to lift others up and to point them to Christ. And that's the whole purpose of everything that we do. And that is why Gracie and I continue to be standing with hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-25 10:11:38 / 2023-02-25 10:18:23 / 7

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